Partial harpy, partial drudge.
My mind is mud, turgid sludge.
In vicious turmoil, churning round.
My mind can’t hear, there’s too much sound.

I don’t like this me,
I’m not how I like to be,
I’m needle sharp, rough and raw,
It seems you are my fatal flaw

Sunk in quicksand, sucking mire
head so cold, heart on fire
Paralysed by poisoned appetite
It’s you I want, it’s me I spite

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So after a rather heated discussion with my ex-husband today (ok, argument then) it occurred to me how many people consider self-employment to mean nothing more than staying home, drinking tea and watching Jeremy Kyle do his worst on daytime TV.

Well, ok, two out of three ain’t bad, to quote Meatloaf. But seriously, when the discussion came up about childcare during the school summer break, I was told, fairly baldly, that as I had “ditched my job” he wouldn’t be needed for his fair share of kiddicare during the summer holidays! Seriously!

Even though he knows I’ve started getting work through as a freelance writer. Even though he can see that my day time is dominated by child-centric necessities, almost to the exclusion of all else, when all three are home.

I mean obviously, I’d love to write through the night, go to bed at dawn and surface again at Pimms o’clock. It’s my natural rhythm. But the presence of three little bodies who awake at 6:30 every morning, simply won’t allow that.

For some reason, as soon as you’ve mentioned the fatal words “working from home” it seems to be taken as a massive euphemism for “lazing around doing naff-all besides drinking tea and contemplating your navel”!

But is this a global attitude, or is this peculiar to the UK? We still, even in this so-called enlightened age, seem to have the attitude that if you haven’t clocked in, clocked out and worked an extra hour at your desk to impress the bosses (even if you are only marking time and playing solitaire on your PC), that somehow, you just aren’t doing a ‘proper’ job. Is it just the Brits, or does the rest of the freelancing world get this?

And it’s not just freelance writers either! Artists, part-rime workers, even stay-at -home mothers are somehow treated as if they are shirking some unknown responsibility to society.

So I guess we’d all better go out and get ‘proper’ jobs and stop arsing around with this writing nonsense?

…ok …I’ll just get these 1500 words down and then I’ll get to the job centre….honest!

There’s a hole in my chest where my heart used to be and I’m trying to fathom what happened to me.

Your wolf’s words dressed up like a lamb did so cheat,
And you softened me up like tenderized meat.

And hard tho I tried to block out the din
Of the harsh little words from the voices within,
I cannot ignore, avoid or pretend
That I didn’t suspect our idyll would end.

I weep from the loss, the precipitous drop,
and I’m breathless and hopeless and fear I can’t stop.

I’ve never been good in the hands of defeat,
so I’m hiding out here in my mawkish retreat

But I can’t run away from the idea of you,
and I need to stop feeling the way that I do

I need to face facts and set myself free but there’s a hole in my chest where my heart used to be

So I’m a single mother of three children. One of whom has ADHD and the possibility of a diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder to boot. Which means I’m a slovenly, apathetic, ill-educated slob with no work ethic, fewer family values and no hold over my unruly brood.

Also, according to the pompous pontificators in the public domain, ADHD is a modern myth, created to explain the demise of our society and decline of the tradition family

Well that’s what the ill-informed masses would have me believe anyway!

In truth, none of the above statements is true. But what IS true, is that in a way, we could all do with a return to the good old days.

Not, of course, the use of corporal punishment in schools, or the widely held opinions that if you couldn’t sit still and concentrate, then you must just be lazy, stupid, defiant, or probably all three.

What we could really do with though, is a return to common standards. When everyone’s parents expected similar values from their children. We were ALL expected to say please and thankyou and excuse me. Answering back wasn’t self-expression, it was just rudeness. We didn’t eat sweets in between meals, we were allowed to play on the streets provided we stayed on our side of the road, and we expected to be told off by random adults if we stepped out of line. Parenting was universal. Of course, all grown-ups were the enemy, but the message was clear – this was what the world expects from us. We knew where we stood.

I don’t doubt that ADHD and many of its brothers and sisters are misdiagnosed. Good, firm, honest old-fashioned parenting, where boundaries and consequences are clear, is vital. However, parenting now is fractured into so many different styles, it becomes almost impossible to parent effectively outside your own home.

I am an old fashioned mum. I make mine run off steam outside, I let them explore and get muddy, I cook ‘proper’ food and we have family meals where discuss the goings-on of the day.

I also set boundaries and I tell my children off when those boundaries are ignored. I deprive them of goodies, I shout, (more than I would like), I wag my finger, have perfected the ‘glare’ and even, when occasion demands, I have smacked legs, bottoms and hands depending on the severity of the misdeed and the proximity of said body part.

I just wish that more people shared a common (and common sense) goal so we could feel once again like our parenting is shared, and not like we’re in it all alone.

After all, it takes a village to raise a child.

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